Winter Denali summiter Dupre again puts Hunter in his sights
Lonnie Dupre sets high goals. He had never even climbed a mountain until he climbed Denali in 2010 – but by 2015 he became the first person to climb it alone in January.
Standing near the summit, he saw Mount Hunter.
"I always looked back at Hunter and thought, 'That looks like a pretty interesting peak to climb,'" Dupre said, laughing.
Hunter, also called Begguya, certainly is interesting. At 14,573 feet, it's considerably shorter then Denali at 20,310 feet. But it is much steeper and is considered more dangerous. Just getting there usually involves crossing a jagged ice fall. Crevasses are a constant danger, leaving solo climbers most at risk with no one to rope up to.
It's a danger Dupre experienced firsthand while attempting a solo summit of Hunter in January 2017.
"It's just like someone opened a trap door underneath you right away." Dupre said.
He suddenly found himself hanging for his life on his ice ax. He managed to wiggle himself out of that situation uninjured and alive, but mentally rattled.
"It shook me up so much that I just decided to call the expedition and get out of there." he said.
That experience hasn't deterred Dupre from going for it again.
"I kinda believe in the cliche of getting back on the horse," he said. "I'm going to approach it very calmly and methodically and go slow, take my time and be safe."
Dupre is also taking extra-large homemade skis and a long aluminum rod to help keep him out of crevasses, but he won't be able to use them once he gets to the steep mountain itself. He is taking 17 days worth of food and fuel that he says he can stretch to 25. In total, it's about 150 pounds of gear.
Temperatures in the Alaska Range can drop to 50 degrees below zero or colder, but Dupre has been winter camping most of his life.
"So when you go winter camping and you come back, you think how can I make that more comfortable?" he says. "I don't like being cold so I do everything in my power, short of bringing the kitchen sink to be comfortable. Because its not about suffering, it's about doing a project and coming back and enjoying it."
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